What Do The Tea Party and OWS Have In Common with Iceland?

Posted on January 17, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

To some extent, the “Occupy” and “Tea Party” movements stem from the same route cause – a systemic diseased relationship with money. Our economic institutions and governmental systems have different strains of the disease, but disease nonetheless. The Occupy Movement seems to have developed as a response to Wall Street and the 1% hoarding it, possibly disregarding the rules of the game in order to acquire it. The Tea Party sprung up as a response to governmental spending of that which they don’t have. Both Tea Party Republicans and the Occupy folks probably agree that bailing out the largest banks in the nation is the wrong course of action.

This is all quite relevant now as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s value may have shriveled by 30%. Bank of America Corp. has told U.S. regulators that it is willing to retreat from some parts of the country if its financial problems deepen, according to people familiar with the situation. Finally, President Obama and the US Congress are having an encore performance of the debt ceiling dance. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.

We, as a nation can only crystal ball what would have, could have, and might have happened, if we did not bail out our nation’s banks. However, the Washington Post today provides some insight into how the story might have ended a bit differently. It also provides us with some guidance regarding how we may consider our economic choices a bit differently than we have in the past. Enter Iceland!

Iceland is the “demonstration project” the US should study carefully. As noted in the Post, “Iceland did what the United States chose not to do — allow its biggest banks to fail and force foreign creditors to take a hike. It did what troubled European nations saddled with massive debts and tethered by the euro cannot do — allow its currency to remain weak, causing inflation but making its exports more desirable and its prices more attractive to tourists”.

While the Icelandic krona lost more than half its value against other currencies, the government was kicked out of office; the nation with over 99 percent literacy rates is quickly on the mend. Far more quickly than its counterparts in Italy, Greece and yes, even the US.

“Iceland’s journey from financial ruin to fledgling recovery is a case study in roads not taken and choices not made by other countries faced with economic calamity in recent years”.

Having recently returned from a wonderful (and bargain basement priced) trip to Iceland, I can tell you first hand that the streets ARE brimming with thriving restaurants, tourists and Blue Lagoon expeditions.
Maybe the US should take a look at our Viking founders for some economic lessons too? What do you think??

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Two Surveys Say Washington To Blame More Than Wall Street

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

Two new surveys conducted over this past weekend – The Hill poll, and a USA Today/Gallup poll – found that while many Americans feel Wall Street bears a considerable amount of blame for the country’s economic woes, a greater number of Americans blame Washington more.

The USA Today/Gallup poll found that while 78 percent of people surveyed said Wall Street deserves “a great deal” or a “fair amount” of blame for the poor economy, 87 percent said the same about Washington.

The Hill poll showed that 33% blame Wall Street, where 56% blame Washington.

Both surveys were conducted in light of the fast-growing phenomenon of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, an anti-capitalism, pro-equity populist movement which is now entering its second month of sustained demonstrations, and which has begun to spread to cities around the world.

The Hill Poll examined people’s views of the political implications of the OWS movement:

The split on the question of apportioning blame for the nation’s economic travails corresponds closely with voters’ political ideologies: More than 7 in 10 conservatives blamed Washington for the recession, while more than 5 in 10 liberals blamed Wall Street.

But self-identified centrists, importantly, appear to be siding with the right on economic issues, with nearly half blaming Washington for the recession.

The difference also reflected voters’ views of Obama: Among those who “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the president, most blamed Wall Street, while those who “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove of the president blamed Washington.

Interestingly, those who described themselves as “not sure” about Obama nonetheless blamed Wall Street over Washington by a more than two-to-one margin, 55 percent to 23 percent.

Both polls indicated that while most Americans are paying attention to the OWS protests, most don’t know enough about it or its objectives to offer an informed pro or con opinion.

Yet the OWS movement nonetheless has struck a distinct chord among Americans regardless of whether they support it, don’t support it, or are unsure. Why?

The answer perhaps goes back to a piece we wrote a couple weeks ago titled “Washington, China, Wall Street: No Fix And All Blame Over The U.S. Economy,” where we mentioned that the OWS movement is “symptomatic of the extreme frustration and anger circulating within the country which is inhibiting the clear and rational vision that is critically needed in order to cure the nation’s economic pain.”

The OWS movement is an embodiment of the collective national frustration. While it clearly has political and economic complaints, it does not – unlike the Tea Party, which is essentially a subset of the Republican party – have any partisan political identity or definitive agenda. It is a fluid, populist forum which defies both politics and big business, and is unmarried to either.

And amazingly, with the exception of scattered and isolated incidents, it is markedly and pervasively non-violent. Which ultimately demonstrates discipline, and therefore order.

And it is this structure from the seeming chaos that doubtless is what has generated such intense national interest: for all its perceived disorder, OWS nonetheless embodies what is so dreadfully absent in our own government.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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